Can Chickens Eat Commercial Animal Feed? Discover The Truth

Article Summary

  • Chickens can eat commercial animal feed, but there are important considerations due to different nutritional needs between chickens and larger livestock.
  • Commercial feeds for specific animals like horses, cows, and goats may lack sufficient protein and calcium required by chickens.
  • Chickens can benefit from commercial feeds in moderation as part of a balanced diet, emphasizing the importance of moderation.

Eating the right diet is crucial for raising healthy chickens. Many chicken owners wonder if they can feed their flock commercial animal feeds made for other livestock. The short answer is yes, but there are some important considerations.

Should you feed chickens commercial animal feed?

Commercial feeds are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of specific animals like horses, cows, goats, etc. These feeds contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals tailored to that animal’s requirements.

Chickens have different nutritional needs…

Chickens have different nutritional needs than larger livestock. They require higher protein levels and calcium for egg production. Generic livestock feeds may be deficient in these areas.

However, chickens can eat and benefit from commercial feeds in small amounts as part of a balanced diet. The key is moderation.

Important nutrients in chicken feed

Chicken feeds are specifically made to deliver complete nutrition for chickens. Here are some key nutrients chickens need:

  • Protein – Chickens need 16-20% protein in their diet depending on their age and whether they are layers. Protein fuels growth and egg production.
  • Calcium – Laying hens need 3-4% calcium to produce eggshells. Too little causes thin shells and egg binding.
  • Grit – Chickens need insoluble grit to grind and digest feed in their gizzard. Usually this is coarse sand or oystershell.

Can chickens eat…

Oyster shells?

Yes! Ground oyster shells offer an excellent source of highly bioavailable calcium for layers. Give free choice oyster shell grit to ensure hens get enough calcium daily.

Timothy hay?

Chickens can eat timothy hay but it is very low in protein and nutrients. Hay should only be a small part of their diet. They may enjoy pecking at a flake or two for behavioral enrichment.

Poultry grit?

Poultry or chicken grit is perfect for chickens! It provides the coarse sand and small stones chickens need to grind their feed. Offer insoluble grit free choice.

Commercial livestock feed?

Chickens can eat commercial feeds meant for other livestock in moderation. Limit to 10% or less of the total ration and ensure the bulk of their diet is quality chicken feed.

The bottom line

Chickens are omnivores and can eat a wide variety of foods. While commercial animal feeds won’t hurt chickens in small amounts, they are not a complete diet. Make sure your flock’s primary diet consists of a high-quality complete feed formulated specifically for chickens to meet all their nutritional needs.

Is commercial chicken feed bad for chickens?

No, commercial chicken feed is not bad for chickens; in fact, it is formulated to meet their specific nutritional needs. These feeds are carefully designed to provide a balanced diet, ensuring chickens receive the essential nutrients required for growth, egg production, and overall health.

What other animal feed can chickens eat?

Chickens can consume various animal feeds, including grains like corn and barley, as well as protein sources such as soybean meal, beans, or peas. While they can eat certain animal feeds, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet and prioritize feeds specifically formulated for chickens to meet their nutritional requirements.

What do commercial farmers feed their chickens?

Commercial farmers typically feed their chickens a well-formulated commercial poultry feed. These feeds are designed to provide a complete and balanced diet for chickens at different stages of growth or production. The feed may include grains, protein sources, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

What is commercial feeds for chicken?

Commercial feeds for chickens are specially formulated feeds designed for the nutritional needs of chickens. These feeds come in various types, including starter feed for chicks, grower feed for young chickens, and layer feed for hens producing eggs. They contain a balanced mix of grains, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to support the health and productivity of the chickens.